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4 minute read

10 Questions With – Martyn Hale, Chairman of HME Technology

1 – If you were given £1 million pounds, how would you invest that in your business?

Expansion – I would buy two UK businesses in our market place and consider acquiring a US-based business, giving us more global presence.

2 – What’s the one thing you have implemented in your business that you would encourage other manufacturers to embrace and implement?

A simple performance questionnaire that we ask our customers to complete and which measures five aspects of our business: pre-sale service; post-sale service; pre-site planning; on-site performance and post-installation service including sign off and after sales activity. The results enable us to assess our performance from a customer’s point of view and highlight any areas for improvement. We are constantly evolving and never rest on our laurels.

3 – What is your proudest career achievement so far?

Long-service employees make me feel extremely proud of the company, the products and the ethos that I’ve created. Bob Young retired after working for me for 30 years, and I have another employee who joined me at the age of 21 and is now in his 31st year with the company.

4 – If you could choose, what would you like your legacy to be once you retire?

To ensure that the subject and status of Design & Technology in Primary and Secondary education is on everyone’s radar.

5 – How do you think the manufacturing community can collectively continue to engage and interest young people in manufacturing careers?

This is a real passion of mine and something I dedicate a lot of time to. I am currently working with a variety of manufacturers and businesses to produce short videos which give a real insight into those industries. I am also a real advocate for the new Progress 8 measurement system for schools but, like many others, feel the omission of Design & Technology (D&T) from the 5 core subjects must be addressed in order to encourage youngsters into associated careers such as manufacturing. As such, I’ve spent time visiting schools and talking about the importance of D&T and its relevance to future industry and I hope others will follow suit.

6 – What drove you to pursue a career in manufacturing and how old were you?

I’ve always had a passion for and interest in Design & Technology and so for me it felt like a foregone conclusion that my professional career would follow suit. At school D&T was a permanent fixture in the curriculum and therefore everyone had regular access to the workshops and hands-on lessons in producing all sorts of items from wood and metal. I’m saddened that this isn’t the case anymore and I really think it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency if the UK is to preserve the status of its skills base long-term, and develop our unique manufacturing specialisms in high end industries such as ground transport, aerospace and pharmaceuticals. I was 30 years old when I started my first business and, with profits from that business, I invested in HME at the age of 38.

7 – What one thing would you change to make your business more efficient and productive if money was no object?

I would employ three new members of staff to focus on developing new business sectors, whilst those that are managing current customer and supplier relationships can continue their good work. We have just invested £25,000 in new IT hardware and software.

8 – If you were Prime Minister, what would be the first thing you would change or improve for manufacturers?

Well, because we are cancelling membership of the EEC, we have more control over VAT so I would immediately change the tax status of insurance tax and Air Passenger Duty to a VAT levy, thus enabling businesses to reclaim the tax.
I would also ensure land tax is levied on the net land value, and where the land is rated for VAT, that would also be based on the net land value. The two would be added as separate sums, thus avoiding land tax on the VAT element in the gross figure.
Finally, to improve local authority cash flow, I would move the onus of paying the Community Charge from tenants to landlords/owners.

9 – What is your view on post-Brexit Britain – positive, negative or indifferent and why?

Absolutely positive. I am old enough to remember pre-membership of the EEC, however I was frustrated by our ‘democracy’ being so undemocratic! The Brexit poll and indeed the US election have made their mark on people power. I believe Trump is a breath of fresh air. He is not a career politician but a businessman although not very diplomatic. The UK being a member of the EEC was comparable to having a massive overhead burden and not receiving the tangible benefits, due I guess to us being a wealthy, mature democracy. Giving others within the EEC opportunities of employment and higher earnings was positive, but the associated strains on education, health and welfare, not to mention our inability to motivate some of our own citizens in the work ethic, was not.

10 – What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Learn to say NO – but I really struggle!

Martyn Hale, Chairman at HME Technology / Picture: HME

10 Questions With… is a regular feature where we put a variety of quick fire questions to manufacturing leaders and role models to get to know the people behind manufacturing success in the UK.

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